Creating a Web Fiction Series – Episode Three: Settling on an Idea

I’ve probably been doing this backwards. Usually, there’s a story you want to tell first then you figure out how to fashion it into a web serial. So, this process that I’m undertaking seems a bit artificial, and it is, but at the same time I feel like it acts as a good kick in the rear. Something that nudges me into actually writing instead of dwelling on the same ideas over and over. Think of it as a challenge almost. And plus, I’m too far gone into this process so I can’t turn back now.

But let’s look at the basic elements I want to see in the story I cultivated from the last post:

  • slice-of-life, focusing on more everyday struggles
  • a protagonist who isn’t super-whiny, but may still have internal conflicts
  • possibly some science fiction/fantastical elements, but nothing too overbearing
  • a slight philosophical bent, but doesn’t take itself too seriously

After some thinking (some) I’ve decided that the best thing to do is settle. You know? Like, have you ever been in a relationship that wasn’t all great, yet wasn’t all that bad either? You both didn’t really “love” each other, but, well, you both had to settle on something. Well, this is kind of like that. Because, earlier in this series, I mention a story idea revolving around a pizza deliveryman. It was just something I threw out there. I wasn’t really too excited about it, yet, it was there. And looking at the story elements above I thought, well, maybe this will work. I gotta settle on something…

So, I dwelled on it some more and came up with a basic synopsis for the web fiction series. Here ‘tis:

Burt Romero, a college dropout and recovering alcoholic moves back home to work for the family business: a pizzeria. Burt tries to get his life back on track, and mend his relationship with his family and the people he left behind. Oh, and there’s also spirits, extraterrestrials, and other strange phenomena that he has to contend with daily while delivering pizzas. Life isn’t so easy for Burt, but hey, he just has to take each day…one slice at a time…

Oof. That last sentence though…

But, I think I can make the basic idea work. However, one thing that lingers is the fact that I’m not super passionate about this idea. I mean, after all, shouldn’t I be somewhat passionate about it since I’m going to be writing multiple installments for who knows how long? I guess, but, as I mentioned before, if I just abandon this idea I end up just dwelling and dwelling on different ideas and not actually writing anything. Maybe, what I can do is flesh it out first and see how it goes and then write a couple of installments…

…Yeah I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into.

But it’s got the elements that I like in there. I want to do a weekly, episodic type of thing with a new misadventure or plot each installment. But I also want to have an overarching story and that could be about Burt’s struggles with himself, his family, and his community. But since each episode will focus on something comedic or strange, the more dramatic elements may not become too overbearing, yet will not only still be there, but act as sort-of a foundation for the series.

But some things I have to watch out for is the potential for cliches. There’s the college dropout and recovering alcoholic. These are character tropes that have been done ad nauseum so either I want to try to do something new with them, or drop them completely.

The story idea also reminds me of shows like Bojack Horseman and Rick and Morty. Both series deal with “wacky” situations, yet are also about something “more”. However, while I admire both shows for their ambition, they both have their flaws, and maybe with this series I can address them and make something that both works as a comedic sci-fi as well as a dramatic series that tackles its characters and ideas in a mature way.

Or I’ll just fail horribly.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted, all two people of you. I’ll probably also post about other works of art as well that have influenced or will influence this series as well. Oh, and I’ll start that podcast soon…maybe…

*Note: The image at the top of the post is supposed to be a couple that has “settled.” I tried to find images of couples in mediocre relationships in the WordPress free image gallery thing, but all I found were young, happy couples climbing mountains and shit. 

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